Generating backwashable carbon nanotube mats on the inner surface of polymeric hollow fiber membranes

M. J. Gallagher, H. Huang, Kellogg Schwab, D. H. Fairbrother, B. Teychene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Porous carbon nanotube (CNT) mats adsorbed on flat sheet membranes have previously been shown to significantly improve fouling resistance and contaminant removal capabilities. Unfortunately, these CNT mats are easily disrupted by backwashing, severely limiting their value in commercial membranes. In this study, we describe how CNT mats, which are stable to backwashing, can be generated on the inner surface of hollow fiber membranes. Mat stability was determined from electron microscopy and by quantifying the mass of CNTs lost during aggressive backwashing, including hydraulic stress and exposure to harsh chemicals. Stable mats were also formed with powder activated carbon, demonstrating that the mat's stability is not a consequence of CNT properties, but rather the nature and directionality of the forces that these mats experience during backwashing. Compared to virgin membranes, CNT-modified membranes exhibited improved fouling resistance which was sustained through multiple backwashing cycles. Moreover, no measureable quantities of CNTs entered the permeate when natural organic matter was filtered through a CNT-modified membrane, indicating that CNTs will not be released into the permeate during filtration. Collectively, these findings indicate that CNT-modified membranes could positively impact the sustainability and performance of hollow fiber membranes being used in water purification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-67
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Volume446
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013

Fingerprint

Carbon Nanotubes
hollow
Carbon nanotubes
carbon nanotubes
membranes
Membranes
fibers
Fibers
Fouling
fouling
Water Purification
water treatment
Powders
Activated carbon
Biological materials
Electron microscopy
Purification
Sustainable development
activated carbon
Electron Microscopy

Keywords

  • Backwashable mats
  • Carbon nanotube
  • Hollow fiber
  • Water purification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

Cite this

Generating backwashable carbon nanotube mats on the inner surface of polymeric hollow fiber membranes. / Gallagher, M. J.; Huang, H.; Schwab, Kellogg; Fairbrother, D. H.; Teychene, B.

In: Journal of Membrane Science, Vol. 446, 01.11.2013, p. 59-67.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gallagher, M. J. ; Huang, H. ; Schwab, Kellogg ; Fairbrother, D. H. ; Teychene, B. / Generating backwashable carbon nanotube mats on the inner surface of polymeric hollow fiber membranes. In: Journal of Membrane Science. 2013 ; Vol. 446. pp. 59-67.
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